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Year-long Chavara celebrations to begin tomorrow

July 31, 2014

The year-long celebrations of the canonization of blessed Kuriakose Elias of Chavara would start from tomorrow.

Fr. Walter Thelappilly, provincial of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate, an order founded by Chavara, said the celebrations would start as part of his canonization on November 23 at the Vatican.

The main emphasis during the Canonization year would be on social work, assist poor and downtrodden section of the society at various levels, he said.

Chavara had founded the first indigenous religious congregation for men, Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) in 1831 and for women the Congregation of the Mother of Carmelites (CMC) in 1866, he said.

He told reporteres in Thrissur that Chavara was not only a noted spiritual leader and writer, but also one of the renaissance leaders of Kerala who had made immense contribution in imparting education to all, especially when attaining education was the prerogative of the privileged class.

When schism threatened the Church in 1861, Chavara, the then Vicar General of Syro Malabar Church, had taken a strong stand by giving effective leadership in thwarting Thomas Roccos' intrusion and saved the Church in Kerala from schism, he said.

Fr. Thelappilly said that CMI has now about 2000 priests spread over 122 countries and it has 500 educational institutions besides 1300 aspirants for priesthood.

A scholar and ardent lover of education, he had made rich contributions in imparting education to all and had directed his juniors to establish schools along with the churches, the priest said, adding that all kinds of students, including Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes were admitted to such schools.

Financial assistance and merit scholarship were also provided to poor and talented students for attracting more and more children to education.

Kuriakose (Cyriac) Chavara was born in 1805, ordained priest in 1829 and passed away in 1871.

He was declared Servant of God in 1980 and Venerable in 1984. He was elevated to the honors of the altar declaring him Blessed by Pope John Paul II on Feb 8, 1986 at Kottayam during his visit to Kerala, Fr. Thelappilly said.

Source: UCAN 

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